Working from Home – From Forced to Fantastic!

Woman laptop on couch 7.14.13By Kimberly Rae

I have lived in several different countries, traveled the world, attempted with varying degrees of success to learn a few languages, and loved my big life plans for doing significant things.

But I was sick, and over the years, the sickness got worse until finally I had to admit that I could not keep up with my own goals. I got diagnosed with Addison’s disease, along with a few other health conditions including asthma and hypoglycemia. We came back to the US where I could get the medicine that keeps me alive and keeps me going, though at a much slower rate than I ever expected to live.

I felt shut down. Shelved. Done.

Even though I’d planned to stay at home while my children were young, being forced to stay home and knowing I would likely never be able to have an outside job felt stifling, like a prison. A comfortable prison, but a prison nonetheless.

As I was bemoaning (nice word for complaining) to God about all that had been taken away from me by this illness, He brought something to mind that I hadn’t thought of before. No matter how limited I was physically, no matter how badly I might be feeling, I still was able to do the work I loved most – writing. I could write from my corner of the couch in my pajamas (like I am right now!). That had not been taken away.

So, trying to make the best of things, I wrote more. And more. A couple of summers ago, I was interviewed on this very blog as a debut author, having just released my first novel, Stolen Woman, a Christian suspense/romance story on international human trafficking. All those years overseas had not been wasted, as I was able to take readers on a verbal journey to a culture I knew well.

Since then, I have been amazed at how what I saw as a setback was really a stepping stone. I wasn’t shut down at all. I’ve been able to focus my energies better, and have seen incredible results. In fact, I’m touching more people’s lives through my writing now than I ever could have touched had I stayed “out there” and done what at the time felt significant.

That book I introduced to you two summers ago is now an Amazon bestseller, as is its sequel and the third book in the series.

Even having the health problems has turned into a good thing, because I’ve now got a new series, Sick & Tired, that helps people live joyfully with chronic illness even when they’d rather just kick something!

And that’s not all. I’ve also started a series of novels for teens introducing human trafficking in an age-appropriate way. The first book has been contracted by a major publisher, and they are considering contracting the entire series.

I’ve read that about only 5% of authors can actually make a living from writing. Thanks to working at home, I think I’m going to hit that 5% and that feels really, really good.

Had I remained busy in my “out there” world, I’m not sure if any of those books would exist and I would have missed out on all the amazing connections that have happened because of them.

If you’re working from home because you feel forced to by your situation, here are some questions to think through:

  1. Is there something I love to do that I can do here at home?
  2. Is there something about my experience that would help others?
  3. Am I staying connected to people through Facebook or a blog or over the phone?
  4. What resources or abilities do I have—in my home or in myself—that I can use?

I’d recommend getting out a pen and paper and starting a list of all the advantages of working from home, things like:

  • Being with young children those precious years before school starts.
  • Not spending money on day care, or fancy business luncheons.
  • More control of your own food, schedule, etc.
  • Complete flexibility when there is a family crisis or need.
  • Freedom to make your own choices about what kind of work and how much work to do each day.
  • Not spending money on a business wardrobe or other workplace-related expenses.
  • Being able to create a steady environment for your children/family.
  • Not being stressed and exhausted when your husband gets home (hopefully!).

I have enjoyed all of the above so much, I can’t imagine working outside the home anymore. I love what I do and feel sorry for people who can’t stay home and do what they love like I can. Thanks to the Internet, I don’t feel shut in or disconnected, and frankly, now that in-person events are sometimes more than my diseased body can handle sometimes, I love that I can keep up with even my friendships right here from home! And one more great thing, since I’m a mega night person, I can write when I write best—in the middle of the night—and sleep when I sleep best (not in the middle of the night). I love being my own boss.

So take it from me, if you’re just starting this working from home thing, even if it starts forced, it can be fantastic!

What would you add to my list of the benefits of working from home?

Kimberly Rae has been published over 250 times and has work in 5 languages. She has rafted the Nile River, hiked at the base of Mount Everest, and eaten cow brains, just to say she’d done it! Rae now writes from her home in North Carolina at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, where she lives with her husband and two young children. Sign up for her newsletter at www.kimberlyrae.com for info on new releases and exclusive offers, or follow her on Twitter at @KimberlyRaeBook.

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